September 16, 2002 12:00 PM

Allison Moorer (Universal South)

Album of the week

Infused with the spirit of the Rolling Stones’ honky-tonk-flavored tracks and the blues heart of Bonnie Raitt, this second album by the immensely talented Moorer, 30, is a triumph. The contemporary country singer, who is the younger sister of Shelby Lynne, had a hand in composing 12 of 13 songs, most cowritten with her husband and coproducer, Doyle Primm. The result is a varied collection that artfully displays Moorer’s expressive voice as well as some adroit guitar, bass and organ work by a fine ensemble of backup musicians. From the lament “Cold in California” and the almost grim “Going Down” to the evocative story song “Ruby Jewel Was Here,” about a prostitute’s daughter born in a brothel in 1900, this disc is consistently enjoyable. The highlight is “Steal the Sun,” on which Moorer’s deep, throaty voice is reminiscent of the young Cher. This is a major star in waiting; may she have good fortune.

Bottom Line: You’ll come back for Moorer

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